UK’s contactless payment limit rises to make shopping simpler


Quicker checkouts, less contact.
Photo: Visa

U.K. Finance on Tuesday confirmed it is increasing the contactless card payment limit to £45. The move is designed to make shopping simpler during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will be permanent.

Consumers in the U.K. can currently spend up to £30 on their debit cards before having to enter their PIN number. The new limit comes into effect on April 1 and will be useful where Apple Pay isn’t available.

If you can use Apple Pay, that’s obviously the best option. It’s more secure, and in many locations, it’s limitless; you can spend as much as you like without having to pull out your debit card.

Where Apple Pay isn’t available, an increased limit means fewer people having to physically interact with a card payment terminal. It will speed up the checkout process, and reduce the need for contact.

Good news for all

U.K. Finance said increasing the contactless payment limit was already under consideration. However, the rollout process has been expedited in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“The payments industry has been working closely with retailers to be able to increase the contactless payment limit to help customers with their shopping at this critical time for the country,” said U.K. Finance CEO Stephen Jones.

“This will give more people the choice to opt for the speed and convenience of purchasing goods using their contactless card, helping to cut queues at the checkout.”

What you need to know

Here are the key things you need to know:

  • The change officially comes into effect on April 1.
  • The contactless payment limit increases from £30 to £45.
  • It will take some retailers more time to implement the change; not all will support the new limit by April 1.
  • This change is permanent; the limit will not be reverted to £30 when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Similar changes have been rolled out in other European countries in recent weeks. Consumers can contact their bank for further information.